Even after all these years, Serial Experiments Lain remains a cult-classic anime for many. With only 13 episodes and a ton of unanswered questions, fans still want something more of this story to fill the void somehow. Probably, if you are in that position, the chance of revisiting the world of Lain Iwakura in a videogame form looks promising. However, its PlayStation counterpart might not be what you would expect. Still, that does not mean that this game is a total waste of time. If you are into more artsy CD-ROM experiences and still want to explore the depths of the mind and technology, this could be an enjoyable experience.
What’s the Serial Experiments Lain video game about?
Released just two months after the last episode of the anime aired, this game can only be compared to other more avant-garde video games of the era, such as LSD: Dream Emulator (1998) and Eastern Mind: The Lost Souls of Tong Nou (1994). Constructed similar to a visual novel but instead of going through the story linearly, the player must go through some sort of network interface and collect different pieces of information audio, video, and picture. This apparent disconnection plus random interruptions with violent imagery gives the gameplay an eerie and obscure atmosphere.
So, what is the plot about? Do not expect to see the same storyline as the anime, but you can find the same themes about technology, society, mental health, and existence. Some even theorize this works as a prequel to the series. Here, Lain PS1 shows us a version of the titular character who suffers visual and auditory hallucinations and has a hard time trying to interact with others. Through her therapy sessions with the young and painfully inexpert psychologist, Touko, we get to know more about her and how she starts to lose the sense of herself as she goes deeper into the Wired. Simultaneously, Touko’s personal conflicts begin to leak into their therapy dynamics until her identity gets muddled to tragic lengths.
Is Serial Experiments Lain video game good?
Depends. If you are looking for more linear and easy gameplay, this game will be terribly boring. As mentioned, all you can do is collect information and try to make sense of it. Once it makes sense, the story delivery can be quite rewarding, since it conveys masterfully the feelings of alienation and self-loathing that this version of Lain experiments. Unless you are sure you can handle the offbeat pacing, mechanics, and more disturbing scenes, I recommend you just watch a video playthrough. Not only will it help you to enjoy the narrative more, but it will save you from a few headaches.
As for the original Serial Experiments Lain fans, you will be fine as long as you remember this game is set in another continuity. Anime aspects such as the Tachibana Laboratories and Lain’s nature are explored but they take a secondary role. The Lain video game is more about alienation and how we crave human interaction. While the internet and A.I. can provide some comfort, it will never replace it completely. In the end, this Lain is just a little girl who wants to be loved but her mental state does not allow her to be the person she desperately wants to be. You will feel confused, terrified, and tense while playing but just as the video game says, at the end and above all, this story will make feel sad for her.
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Hi everyone! I am Javi from the distant land of Santiago, Chile. I grew up watching horror movies on VHS tapes and cable reruns thanks to my cousins. While they kinda moved on from the genre, I am here writing about it almost daily. When I am not doing that, I enjoy reading, drawing, and collecting cute plushies (you have to balance things out. Right?)